Date
18 November 2017
Protesters call on President Park Geun-hye to step down during a massive rally in Seoul on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
Protesters call on President Park Geun-hye to step down during a massive rally in Seoul on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s Park open to April resignation date, adviser says

South Korean President Park Geun-hye indicated she is willing to step down in April as opposition lawmakers said they have enough votes to impeach her this week over an influence-peddling scandal.

Park would accept the ruling Saenuri Party’s proposal that she step down at the end of April, Bloomberg quoted her senior political adviser Hur Won-je as saying at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

Her resignation would pave the way for a presidential election in 60 days, the report said.

If parliament votes to impeach her, Park would be suspended from power unless the move is rejected by the constitutional court.

“If Park is suspended, her hands would be tied and she wouldn’t be able to make a move when she wants to when the situation improves for her,” said Nam Chang-hee, a political science professor at South Korea’s Inha University.

“Resigning in April would buy her nearly five months of time to exercise influence.”

A resignation offer may be too late to halt the momentum for her impeachment, however.

A faction of her party agreed on Sunday to support an impeachment motion set for vote on Friday regardless of whether she resigns in April or not, Chang Je-won, a Saenuri Party lawmaker, said on Facebook.

The 29 lawmakers made their decision after Saturday’s massive protest against Park.

“Joining the impeachment vote is the only way to humbly accept the wishes of the people and put the government affairs back on track,” Chang said.

Chang’s faction would provide opposition just enough votes to reach the threshold of 200 required to pass the motion in the 300-seat National Assembly.

More than 170 opposition and independent politicians endorsed the motion filed last week.

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RA/CG

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